Massive Temporary Facebook Page Growth – Why?


With many websites and blogs reporting drastic decreases in the amount of Likes and the level of Engagement their Facebook pages are receiving, we’re seeing the opposite on some pages we manage.

I have mentioned Drifted’s Facebook page in previous Case Studies for Zest Digital. The page has a large following, which means it acts as a great sample for finding Facebook trends (197,000 Likes at the time of writing).

For the first 3 quarters of 2013, the Drifted Facebook page received around 80 Likes per day. From the 8th of December onwards, the Page has been receiving between 900 and 4.5K likes per day.

What Changed?

facebook page suggestions

The first thought when seeing spikes in Fans/Likes/Followers to this degree is: Artificial Manipulation.

Fake fans are easy and cheap to buy. They don’t add any real value to a marketing campaign, and are often removed after a while. Thankfully, these aren’t fake fans, but legitimate interested parties from across the globe that can be converted in to leads/sales.

Why the Massive Increase?

The rate of Like acquisition is up, drastically. Engagement is also up massive amounts. The influx of new people is resulting in engagement at unprecedented levels. Facebook have changed their algorithm.

facebook suggestions

Page Suggestions

In mid-2013, some of our peers and competitors experienced the surge in Likes that Drifted is currently experiencing. We assumed that Facebook’s new “Page Suggestions” feature was sending massive amounts of traffic to these pages, but not us.

Please note: Page Suggestions is not the same as Sponsored/Suggested Posts.

We were yet to be featured in Page Suggestions, but we weren’t doing anything different to the pages that were (to our knowledge). None of our competitors were investing in Paid advertising with Facebook. We speculated that Facebook may be testing a new algorithm in batches.

The surge for these pages lasted a few months, with their rate of Like acquisition returning to “normal” levels after a few months.

News Feed Algorithm Change

Simultaneously to the aforementioned Page Suggestion implementation, Facebook’s News Feed started displaying older posts at the top of peoples’ News feeds when said posts achieved ‘later-in-life’ Likes. This meant that even a few days after posting, posts were still receiving Likes. This didn’t happen before, and helps further with engagement. Someone digging deep in to a Facebook page and Liking an image now pushes said image to the top of their friends’ News Feeds. Another very powerful algorithm change, massively extending the longevity of posts and reach.

See Where Your Likes are Coming From

Thankfully, Facebook now shows us where our Likes come from. Our speculation that Page Suggestions was responsible for the surge pages were experiencing was recently confirmed with Facebook’s updated insights. A large chunk of our Likes came from “Mobile”. We speculate that Mobile Page Suggestions were being attributed to Mobile instead of Page Suggestions. This is an issue Facebook seemingly fixed on the 8th January.

Getting Featured in Page Suggestions

Part 1: Make sure that the “Include Page Suggestions” is checked in your page settings.

Part 2: Cross your fingers and hope for the best!

At this stage, we can’t find concrete evidence for a strategy that guarantees you will be featured in Page Suggestions. Our competitors/peers were seemingly picked at random, and their boost in Likes was only temporary. We expect that our current rate of Likes will drop back to “normal” levels some time in the near future. Saying that, in an attempt to please Facebook, we did adjust our strategy to try and boost our chances of being featured. This included:

  • Post more photos created by Drifted (photos that weren’t featured anywhere else on the web – unique content)
  • Engage with fans more (comment/reply on posted images – be social)
  • Increase frequency of posting without over-doing it (5 – 10 posts per day – consistency)

The above points may help your page to be featured, but always remember: Correlation does not imply Causation.